Network Bulletin No.: 09-01
Date: January 16, 2009
Subject: Digital talking books (DTBs)
Index term: Network Library Handbook
for Implementation of the Digital System
As part of its continuing preparation for the upcoming transition from analog to digital technology,
has compiled a__ Network Library Handbook for Implementation of the Digital System__ to
various aspects of the transition. A discussion version is enclosed for your review. Your
comments are welcome.
Please send your comments via e-mail to [log in to unmask] by close of business on Thursday, February
For more information contact:
Carolyn Hoover Sung
Chief, Network Division
[log in to unmask]
Network Library Handbook for
Implementation of the Digital System
Suggestions for further explanatory material or additional
topics may be forwarded to [log in to unmask]
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress
Table of Contents
1. DIGITAL TALKING BOOKS (DBs) 1
1.1 DB Cartridge 2
1.2 DB Container 2
1.3 DB Production Levels 3
1.4 DB Copy Allotment 3
1.5 Collection Shelving 4
1.6 Return and Reuse of DB Cartridges and Containers 5
1.7 Web Excess and Redistribution Program (XESS) for DBs 5
1.8 DB Sampler 5
1.9 Bibliographic and Catalog Information 6
1.10 Network Library Digital Recording 6
2. DUPLICATION OF DBs BY NETWORK LIBRARIES 7
2.1 Downloading DBs for Duplication 7
2.2 Duplicating DBs 7
2.3 Labeling DBs 7
2.4 Training for Downloading, Duplicating, and Labeling DBs 8
2.5 Purchase of DB Cartridges by Network Libraries 8
2.6 Purchase of DB Containers by Network Libraries 8
3. NLS BRAILLE AND AUDIO READING DOWNLOAD (BARD) 8
3.1 Training for Use of BARD 9
3.2 BARD Activity Information and Reporting 9
4. MAGAZINES 9
4.1 Magazines in RC Format 9
4.2 Downloading Digital Magazines 9
4.3 Digital Magazines on Cartridges
4.4 Network Production of Digital Magazines 10
5. MUSIC IN DIGITAL FORMAT 10
5.1 Conversion of Braille, Audio, and Large-Print Books and 10
Braille and Bold-Note Music to Digital Format 10
5.2 Updates of Voyager Catalog for Digitized Music 10
5.3 Revision of Music Material Documentation 10
5.4 Music in Braille Available on Web-Braille Site
6. DIGITAL TALKING-BOOK MACHINES (DTBMs) 11
6.1 Basic Characteristics of DTBMs 11
6.2 DTBM Production Schedule 11
6.3 Allocating DTBMs from NLS to MLAs 12
Processing New DTBMs 12
6.5 Distributing DTBMs from MLAs to Patrons 12
6.6 Inspection and Maintenance of DTBMs 12
6.7 Warranty Repairs of DTBMs 13
6.8 Nonwarranty Repairs of DTBMs 13
6.9 Training in Use of DTBMs 13
6.10 Chrome Labels 14
7 DIGITAL SYSTEM EFFECTS ON CMLS
7.1 Changes in Procedures and Information Systems Related to 14
7.2 Role of CMLS in BARD Authorization 14
8. DIGITAL SYSTEM EFFECTS ON BPHICS 15
9. DIGITAL SYSTEM EFFECTS ON PICS 15
9.1 Quota-Driven Copy Allotment in PICS 15
9.2 Deployment of Final PICS System 16
10. TRAINING NETWORK LIBRARY STAFF FOR 16
IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL SYSTEM
10.1 Current Training Programs 16
10.2 Future Training Programs 16
11 DIGITAL SYSTEM PRELAUNCH 17
11.1 Prelaunch Sites 17
11.2 DTBM Production and Allocations for Prelaunch 17
11.3 Bibliographic System Updates for Prelaunch 17
12. PATRON INFORMATION ABOUT DIGITAL SYSTEM
12.1 Time Required for the Transition 18
12.2 Role of Talking Book Topics 18
12.3 Patron Instruction on the Use of DBs, DTBMs, and BARD
12.4 Veteran Preference for Program Materials 18
Table of Contents (continued)
12.5 Patron Purchase of DB Cartridges 19
13. OUTREACH CONCERNING IMPLEMENTATION OF
DIGITAL SYSTEM 19
13.1 NLS Outreach 19
13.2 Network Library Outreach 19
13.3 New Applications for Service 19
14. RECORDED CASSETTE BOOKS 20
14.1 RC Production 20
14.2 End of RC Production 20
14.3 RC Copy Allotment 20
15. CASSETTE BOOK MACHINES (CBM) 20
15.1 CBM Inventory Management by MLAs 21
15.2 Repair Parts for CBMS 21
15.3 CBM Repairs 21
15.4 CBM Disposal 21
16. MULTISTATE CENTERS 22
16.1 Continuing MSC Functions 22
16.2 New MSC Functions for Digital System 22
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
Network Library Handbook for
Implementation of the Digital System
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress
(LC), is in the process of implementing new delivery systems that use digital media for reading materials
of the free national library program. This digital-based system will effectively replace the current analog
recorded cassette (RC) technology by 2013.
This handbook is intended to assist the staffs of the network of cooperating libraries. To this end,
NLS has included brief descriptions of the major components of the digital-based system and some discussion
of how network library operations will be affected by the implementation.
1. DIGITAL TALKING BOOKS (DBs)
The digital talking book (DB) is the centerpiece of the new digital delivery system. Rather than
analog audio representation of the content of a print book, as is done with RC books, DBs use a
representation of the content. For audiobooks, digital technology offers several advantages over
technology, including improved audio quality, more rapid and comprehensive navigation of content,
simplified methods of duplication, reusable media, and electronic delivery.
DB production begins with the creation of an audio master that contains the narration of a book's
in raw audio files in WAV format. Navigation points are inserted along with additional information
Ametadata." In the next step, a compression algorithm or CODEC called Adaptive Multi-Rate
Wideband Plus (AMR WB+) is applied to the audio and metadata files, which significantly reduces
memory required to store the book with minimal, usually imperceptible, degradation of audio
Then an encryption algorithm is applied to create digital rights management (DRM), which enables
authorized users in the program (patrons, NLS staff, NLS contractors, network library staff, and
volunteers) to use DBs. DRM ensures copyright protection for publishers and authors of the books
produced as DBs. A book is not a digital book until it includes AMR/DRM features.
At this juncture in the production process, NLS performs quality assurance (QA) inspections to
that a DB is ready for distribution in the program. All DBs produced by NLS are available for
via the Internet using an NLS-operated download web site, Braille and Audio Reading Download
(BARD), which is further described in Section 3 of this handbook.
DBs will be available for distribution in a manner very similar to that used for RCs. A cartridge
than one or several cassettes) will be the medium on which a digital book is stored. The cartridge
encased and mailed in containers similar to those used for RCs. Further information on DBs
cartridges appears in the following paragraphs of this handbook. More details on DBs, including
production specifications, can be found at www.loc.gov/nls/specs/.
1.1 DB Cartridge
The DB uses a customized cartridge containing a flash-memory chip. Most chips will have one (1)
gigabyte (GB) of memory, and nearly all book titles will fit on a single cartridge, with only the
titles requiring more than one. Each cartridge will have a Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0
cartridge is approximately the same size as an audiocassette and approximately 3/8 of an inch thick,
with a slightly different shape. One end of the DB cartridge has a round finger hole for easier
All NLS DB cartridges will be white. All network and personal use cartridges will be mint green.
The cartridge is labeled with bibliographic information in both print (using
label stock) and braille (either embossed on the same stock as the print label or overlaid).
The DB cartridge is durable and requires no rewinding or other type of resetting or reinitializing by
staff. Returned cartridges, however, must still be inspected for obvious damage to connectors, shells,
DBs must also be inspected for agreement between cartridge and container labels and to ensure that
foreign objects are in the container with the cartridge. The same inspection methods used for RC
can be used for DBs.
Further details on the DB cartridge, including specifications for production, labeling, and packaging,
be found at www.loc.gov/nls/specs/. Information regarding direct purchase of DB cartridges by
agencies for their own use is presented in Section 2.5.
1.2 DB Container
The DB container is made of blue plastic and measures 6 inches deep by 4-3/4 inches wide by 3/4 of
inch thick. It has virtually the same design, length, and width as the RC container, but only about
thickness, and it is stackable. The container holds a single cartridge and is also labeled in the same
manner as the RC container, but has a unique bar code. Its external mailing slot will hold the
by-5 inch mailing-address card used by network libraries.
Network library staff must inspect returned DB containers for obvious damage to the case, including
buckle straps and mailing card slot and labels. As noted earlier, library staff must also ensure
container agreement for returned DBs.
Further details on the DB container, including specifications for production, labeling, and cartridge
packaging, can be found at www.loc.gov/nls/specs/. Information regarding direct purchase of DB
containers by network libraries for their own use is presented in Section 2.6.
1.3 DB Production Levels
NLS has developed plans for production of new book titles in DB format for fiscal years (FY) 2008
through 2013; the plans for FY 2008 and 2009 were published in Network Bulletin 08-01 (January
2008). Actual production levels in future years will depend on the funding available for DB
cartridge costs, and production costs, as well as cartridge return and reuse rates. The production of
titles in DB cartridge format is also being coordinated with the production plans for digital playback
machines and for RC books during the transition period.
The current plans for production of new titles on DB cartridges are as follows:
Number Average Number of
FY of Titles Copies per Title
2008 650 516
2009 2,000 575
2010 2,000 700
2011 2,000 892
2012 2,000 925
2013 2,000 925
The current plans for production of retrospective titles (i.e., titles produced in digital format and
on RCs) on DB cartridges allow for all libraries to select title/copy combinations that do not exceed
total copy quota assigned to them by NLS (based on readership). In FY 2008, NLS assigned for
production and distribution 220,000 copies of retrospective titles that network libraries selected
among 10,000 titles. In FY 2009, NLS will produce and distribute about 198,000 copies selected
network libraries from among 12,000 titles.
1.4 DB Copy Allotment
The new system will have two copy allotments for DBs: one for new titles and the other for
retrospective titles. Copy allotment for new titles will be an ongoing, continuous operation, while
retrospective titles will be discrete and for a limited number of cycles (two or three).
Using reported readership as the basis for allocation of copies of new titles on DB cartridges and the
planned production for FY 2008, NLS determined quota-driven copy allotments for network
a similar manner libraries were allocated copy quotas of retrospective titles based on readership and
total number of copies of retrospective titles to be produced during the year. Approximately 10,000
retrospective titles were offered, and network libraries selected title/copy combinations within their
allocated copy quotas. This cycle closed at the end of August 2008. A similar cycle of copy
retrospective title DBs is currently ongoing.
1.5 Collection Shelving
NLS is not recommending a particular type of collection storage for DBs. Network libraries must
the most appropriate type of storage to use based on collection size, available storage space,
quantities and types of shelving, and information-system support.
One fundamental decision that must be made is whether DBs will be interfiled with RCs in
storage or stored in separate shelving. To facilitate interfiling of DBs with RCs, NLS has designed
DB container so that it has the same footprint as the RC container (although it has about half the
thickness). DB containers can be stacked on top of RC containers as well as on top of other DB
containers. The numeric portion of the title number is also the same for RCs and DBs, both
and new titles, thus facilitating interfiling if desired. DB containers are blue; RC containers are
Whether or not DBs and RCs are interfiled, libraries will employ one of the following four types of
collection storage, depending on the type of shelving and information-system support available and
1. Title number-sequence shelving.
2. Terminal-digit shelving.
3. Random shelving: title-specific.
4. Random shelving: copy-specific.
Libraries will not be required to house a master digital collection for in-house duplication. Libraries
be able to download DBs from the NLS download system. Any DB copy of a title in stock will
equally well as a master for the duplication process. This eliminates the need for a dedicated storage
for a master collection as well as the need to remove copies from circulating inventory to serve as
1.6 Return and Reuse of DB Cartridges and Containers
The return and reuse of NLS-owned DB cartridges and containers will be an important component
future operations of the digital system. By reusing both cartridges and containers for mass
new materials, NLS will be able to produce more titles and more copies.
After several years of circulation in library collections, likely beginning in FY 2011, network
be asked to weed excess copies of DBs from their collections in a manner similar to that for RCs. If
Web Excess and Redistribution Program (XESS) protocol is used for DBs, which NLS has not
yet determined, then interlibrary exchanges will use weeded copies first.
After any XESS process is completed, all remaining copies will be forwarded to an NLS
contractor, which will receive, log in, and track (separately) cartridge and container receipts by
recondition them (i.e., inspect cartridges and containers for usability, dispose of unusable units,
labels and residual glues/adhesives, and possibly erase the content), and forward them to mass
for reuse as instructed by NLS. Return statistics for cartridges and containers will be maintained for
1.7 Web Excess and Redistribution Program (XESS) for DBs
NLS has not yet decided whether to have an XESS process for DBs similar to that used for RCs. It
be that an XESS process will not be used and all weeded copies will be forwarded directly to an
reconditioning contractor. Alternatively, a web-based XESS process is being considered, as well as
whether or not libraries would be credited, for the purposes of copy allotment, for making copies
to other libraries through the XESS process.
Because it will be several years (FY 2011 at the earliest) before libraries will actually begin
returning DB copies for reconditioning and reuse in mass duplication of new titles, a policy decision
imperative at this time. NLS will inform network libraries of the procedures to be followed once the
decision is made.
1.8 DB Sampler
A small sample collection of DBs and digital playback machines will be produced and distributed to
network libraries at the time of the "prelaunch," a large-scale field test of the new digital delivery
described in Section 11 of this handbook.
Fifty-four DB titles have been selected for the prelaunch to represent the wide variety of books in the
collection. Two copies of each title will be issued to every regional and subregional library in the
network. A Digital Talking-Book Sampler, which describes the prelaunch titles, will be distributed
network libraries early in FY 2009. Each library will initially receive one standard and one
Two types of DBs will be in the sampler. Titles produced since 2004 have encoded markers that
flexible navigation of the book content. Earlier titles, originally produced in an analog format and
converted to digital, do not have navigation markers.
1.9 Bibliographic and Catalog Information
In March 2008, NLS notified network libraries of changes to bibliographic systems and cataloging
related to DBs. NLS has updated catalog records in the Voyager system to include information
to DBs, and catalog records for current DB titles, in both abbreviated and full Machine Readable
Record (MARC) formats, are also available for distribution from the NLS Network Library Services
Approximately 13,000 catalog records are now in the Voyager system for both retrospective and
titles. As both new and retrospective DB titles are added to the NLS collection, catalog records are
to the system. Retrospective DB titles bear the tag "May be available for download only.@ Not all
network libraries will receive copies of all retrospective titles on cartridges.
As noted, the NLS web site now contains a limited number of catalog records in both abbreviated
MARC format, available for download by network libraries. In March 2009, MARC records for
retrospective DBs in the Voyager catalog will be made available for download on the NLS web site.
Network libraries may download records from the NLS web site for the retrospective titles they
on cartridges or for all retrospective titles produced by NLS.
1.10 Network Library Digital Recording
In order to offer network library-produced digital books and magazines network-wide through
BARD, NLS must ensure that the products are of satisfactory quality for distribution. To that end,
network library staff must have guidelines for producing digital materials and training in doing so.
quality of the resulting products must be verified prior to mounting on BARD.
NLS developed guidelines for producing digital recordings of both magazines and books by network
libraries and forwarded them to network libraries on May 3, 2008. They are also available at
Network-recorded books and magazines that pass QA inspection will be added to BARD on an
basis, and the policies and procedures for adding these materials to the system will be distributed to
network libraries when finalized. It is anticipated that locally recorded magazine issues will be
BARD first and books second during the transition. All materials that do not pass QA inspections
however, be listed in the online catalog.
2. DUPLICATION OF DBs BY NETWORK LIBRARIES
Digital technology will enable network libraries to duplicate copies of DBs, both NLS and locally
produced titles, using a simpler process and producing superior audio quality than was possible with
duplication of RCs. Cartridges used for library duplication must be owned by the individual
since a write-protect key in the NLS cartridges prevents them from being used by parties other than
or NLS contractors.
It will also be the responsibility of libraries to purchase any equipment, software, and materials
to perform in-house DB duplication and to perform the duplication using their own staffs.
2.1 Downloading DBs for Duplication
One way network library staff will be able to obtain DB files for duplicating will be through BARD,
which is described further in Section 3.
2.2 Duplicating DBs
As noted, libraries must provide their own cartridges for in-house duplication of DBs.
Using available library-owned cartridges, the software application for enabling writing to those
and the DB files obtained from either BARD or a copy of a DB cartridge from local collection
duplication process is relatively simple for one-at-a-time production. It requires only a computer
Internet connection, a USB cable, and a blank cartridge. Further information is provided in Section
2.3 Labeling DBs
After duplication, library-produced DBs must be labeled in both print and braille. NLS will provide
to network libraries label-making software and training (including guidelines) for DB-label
Training for library duplication of DBs and creating their labels is further discussed in Section 2.4.
Network libraries will be responsible for providing the necessary printers, labels, and staffing for
DBs duplicated in-house. NLS will provide guidance on the appropriate types of printers and labels
2.4 Training for Downloading, Duplicating, and Labeling DBs
An NLS contractor is developing several training programs for network library staff that will
transition to the new digital-based system. One of these programs will provide guidelines and
downloading DBs from BARD and copying those DB files onto one or more cartridges, for using
supplied label-making software, and for producing labels for DB cartridges.
The front-end development of the training program has been completed, and the programs
now being produced. The web-based tutorials will be available to network library staff on the NLS
Network Library Services web site. It is expected that the training programs will be ready for
use sometime 2009.
2.5 Purchase of DB Cartridges by Network Libraries
Network libraries may purchase cartridges in lots of one thousand or more at a predetermined price
directly from the manufacturer, Northstar, which has the contract to produce USB-flash cartridges
digital system. Northstar will furnish network libraries with blank cartridges at prices defined by a
formula in its contract.
Libraries unable to purchase in large lots may arrange to purchase cartridges in quantities of fewer
one thousand by contacting the American Printing House for the Blind, Independent Living Aids, or
National Audio Company. Network libraries may refer patrons to these companies to purchase
for personal use.
2.6 Purchase of DB Containers by Network Libraries
The NLS contract with the manufacturer of the DB containers allows direct purchase of containers
the manufacturer by network libraries. The only differences between containers purchased by
libraries and NLS containers will be the color and the absence of the molded logo AThe Library of
3. NLS BRAILLE AND AUDIO READING DOWNLOAD (BARD)
In addition to mailing out DBs on cartridges, NLS will make digital books and magazines available
network libraries and program patrons through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)
site. NLS began BARD as a pilot project for testing digital magazines, then expanded it into a pilot
project for digital books.
NLS plans to convert BARD from a pilot project to a production system with the memory,
telecommunications infrastructure necessary to support all network library and patron users
the program. The conversion of BARD to a production system is scheduled for implementation
Ultimately BARD will contain all NLS digital magazines and book titles. Use of BARD requires
speed Internet access.
3.1 Training for Use of BARD
An NLS contractor is developing several training programs for network library staff to facilitate the
transition to the new digital-based system. One of these programs will provide training for network
library staff in verifying and registering program patrons for using BARD, as well as training for the
download process itself.
3.2 BARD Activity Information and Reporting
Network libraries will continue to record both summary level and detailed information on book and
magazine circulation generated by their patrons who use the system.
NLS produces and directly distributes to patrons 45 audio magazines (including Talking Book
four music magazines) and 33 braille magazines (including sports schedules and music magazines).
Production and distribution of these publications will continue.
4.1 Magazines in RC Format
The production and distribution of direct circulation magazines (including Talking Book Topics) in
format are planned to continue through FY 2010 and possibly through FY 2011, even though
technology is rapidly approaching obsolescence. Readers who continue to obtain audio magazines
direct circulation instead of online will need cassette book machines (CBM) to read them.
4.2 Downloading Digital Magazines
Audio magazines are now produced in digital format and are available on BARD.
4.3 Digital Magazines on Cartridges
NLS anticipates that production of audio magazines in RC format will end after FY 2010 or
2011, largely because of technological obsolescence. If delivery of audio magazines is to continue
this time in a format other than that offered by BARD, DB cartridges must be used for that purpose.
4.4 Network Production of Digital Magazines
See Section 1.10 of this handbook for further information on network library production of digital
5. MUSIC IN DIGITAL FORMAT
NLS stores music scores and instructional materials and distributes them directly to patrons.
libraries and interested patrons do need to be informed of the changes in music materials that will
from the change to digital technology.
5.1 Conversion of Braille, Audio, and Large-Print Books and Braille and Bold-Note Music to
Existing music books and scores will be converted to digital format. The ultimate goal is to convert
braille music books to digital format. Many musical scores in braille already exist on the NLS Web-
In a similar manner, existing music titles in audio format will be converted from analog to digital.
Existing music books and scores in large-print format will be scanned and added to the collection.
5.2 Updates of Voyager Catalog for Digitized Music
In addition to developing digitized audio, braille, and large-print music collections, online records in
Voyager catalog are being created and modified to include music materials that have been digitized.
has already been done for the braille music collection and will be done for audio materials as well.
5.3 Revision of Music Material Documentation
Documents associated with the music program such as circulars, factsheets, articles, and forms are
revised to reflect all changes for the digital transition. Plans are ultimately to make all music
available on BARD; several audio titles are already offered. Information concerning further
the music program will be communicated to network libraries via the NLS web site, newsletters, and
5.4 Music in Braille Available on Web-Braille Site
Musical scores in braille already exist on the NLS Web-Braille site.
6. DIGITAL TALKING-BOOK MACHINES (DTBMs)
The digital talking-book machine (DTBM) is the centerpiece of the digital-based delivery system. A
DTBM will be used to play a DB just as a CBM is used to play an RC book: the user loads a
a playback machine, then accesses and plays the content. But DTBMs offer several advantages over
CBMs, including smaller size, lighter weight, longer operating time on battery power, greater
more durability, lower cost, and in conjunction with DBs improved audio quality and more rapid
comprehensive navigation of content.
6.1 Basic Characteristics of DTBMs
The DTBM is about 6 inches wide by 9 inches long by 2 inches thick and weighs two pounds. The
of the player is grey to create maximum visual contrast between the background of the case and the
of the controls. It can be operated on A/C power or on power from a rechargeable battery. The
announcements played by the machine can be set for English or Spanish, and user guides in both
braille will be provided in a plastic envelope with each unit. A user guide in audio format is stored
DTBM, as is an audio library service guide. Further descriptions of the players= features may be
the NLS web site.
Two models of DTBMs will be produced by the manufacturer, a standard model (DS1) and an
model (DA1). The advanced model is exactly the same size as the standard model, but has a second
of controls between the power, sleep, and volume controls and the speaker. These additional
the advanced player are for setting and retrieving bookmarks and for navigating.
6.2 DTBM Production Schedule
A DTBM production contract was awarded in June 2008 to Shinano Kenshi Corporation
LLC, with a base period of three years and four option years. DTBMs will be ready for use in the
prelaunch in the spring of 2009. Eight libraries will each receive 544 machines for testing; all other
cooperating libraries will receive one of each player model.
Mass production of DTBMs is scheduled to begin after completion of the ten-week prelaunch.
will continue until the network=s current playback machine inventory has been effectively replaced.
Future production will continue at a maintenance level sufficient to offset loss, damage, and net
6.3 Allocating DTBMs from NLS to MLAs
Allocation of new DTBMs to machine lending agencies (MLAs) will be based on the program
served as annually reported to NLS by network libraries, as was done for the allocation of CBMs. A
readership count, for the purpose of determining the proportion of new DTBM production for each
will be equal to the number of individual readers plus six times the number of institutions served.
6.4 Processing New DTBMs
New DTBMs will be shipped to MLAs by the manufacturer in overpack (multiunit) boxes
eight units. The outside overpack boxes on each skid will be labeled with both barcode and clear
formats for the eight individual units in the box. The individual boxes will be labeled with the
model and serial number. Also accompanying the overpack box will be a certificate of mailing (a
manifest or packing list) that shows the model type and number of machines inside and the serial
of the units. In advance of a shipment to an MLA, the manufacturer will send a copy of the
mailing to both the NLS equipment control officer (ECO) and the NLS Blind and Physically
Information Control System (BPHICS) contractor. The latter will enter the shipment information
BPHICS for reconciliation with the MLA receipt of the shipment.
MLA staff will enter DTBM inventory data (model and serial number) into their own library
systems (LCSs) in a manner similar to that for CBMs. MLAs will also file reports with the BPHICS
system for the new DTBMs received from the manufacturer. The reports will be used in the
shipping/receiving reconciliation process.
6.5 Distributing DTBMs from MLAs to Patrons
NLS has released a policy for DTBM distribution from MLAs to patrons. It will be sent to MLAs in
network bulletin and as a revision to the Network Library Manual.
Veterans must be given first priority for distribution of new DTBMs, as required by the enabling
legislation for the free national library program. After meeting the needs of veterans, cooperating
and MLAs shall address the needs of persons belonging to or eligible for the NLS centenarian group,
Ten-Squared Talking Book Club. After the needs of these groups have been met, libraries shall
machines to those on their waiting lists. If no one remains on the library's waiting list, machine
assignment shall be at the library's discretion.
NLS encourages all MLAs to establish policies for the distribution of DTBMs and apply them
6.6 Inspection and Maintenance of DTBMs
Documentation for DTBM inspection and maintenance procedures is currently being written by
Two documents are being developed: Digital Talking Book Players, Models DS1 and DA1, Library
Guide; and Digital Talking Book Players, Models DS1 and DA1, Service Guide. The service guide
more comprehensive of the two, containing detailed information on the inner workings of the DTBM
included in the library guide.
When finalized, both documents will be available on the NLS web site. The guides will be Aliving
documents,@ requiring periodic revisions. For this reason, the hardcopy versions of both documents
made available for distribution will be issued in loose-leaf binder format for easily incorporating
After further feedback on the draft DTBM inspection and maintenance documentation is received,
reviewed, and assimilated by NLS, the final revision will be produced.
6.7 Warranty Repairs of DTBMs
The DTBM production contract includes a 13-month manufacturer=s warranty on the machines,
requires the manufacturer to repair the units at no additional cost to NLS if defects not caused by
occur within the warranty period.
Warranty repair procedures will be similar to those currently used for CBMs, whereby entries to
are made by the MLAs when returning a machine for warranty repair or receiving the repaired unit
BPHICS entries are made by the manufacturer when receiving a defective unit, when returning the
repaired unit to the MLA, and when forwarding a unit to NLS for disposal.
6.8 Nonwarranty Repairs of DTBMs
NLS is planning for DTBMs to be maintained by a combination of volunteers, MLA staff, and
commercial repairers. MLAs will be responsible for organizing their own staff and volunteers to
DTBM repairs, while NLS will contract for commercial repairs and pay for them, which is the way
repairs are currently handled.
The procedures used by MLAs and authorized repairers for ordering batteries and replacement parts
be essentially the same as those currently used for ordering CBM batteries and parts: replacement
will be ordered from NLS headquarters, while batteries will be ordered from the MSCs.
6.9 Training in Use of DTBMs
An NLS contractor is in the process of developing several training programs for network library staff
facilitate the transition to the new digital-based system. One of these programs will provide training
network library staff who assist patrons with using DTBMs both in person and over the phone.
will train staff who process DTBMs within MLAs. The training will cover how to inspect DTBMs
distinguish between performing maintenance and repair; how to perform maintenance functions
before reissuing returned machines, such as bookmark removal and cleaning; and how to implement
warranty repair procedures.
The front-end development of the training program has been completed and the program itself is
being produced. The resulting web-based tutorial will be available to network library staff on the
web site. It is expected that the training program will be beta-tested by prelaunch library staff.
As noted earlier, user guides in both large print and braille will be provided along with the players.
6.10 Chrome Labels
NLS will supply MLAs with customized chrome labels.
7. DIGITAL SYSTEM EFFECTS ON CMLS
Implementation of the digital system will affect the Comprehensive Mailing List System (CMLS) in
7.1 Changes in Procedures and Information Systems Related to CMLS
As cited in NLS Network Bulletin 08-04 (February 8, 2008), NLS will use the CMLS system to
assignment of players to patrons. NLS requested that network libraries and LCS vendors update the
CMLS database field names in their systems so that fields currently used for equipment code 2 and
equipment code 3 were redesignated for the digital players.
The CMLS contractor completed the changes in the system in July 2008, and NLS requested that
libraries and LCS vendors make all required changes to their systems by June 30, 2008. As of July
2008, disc players and combination machines are tracked only by the BPHICS database, and
CBMs are tracked by the CMLS database.
Additional information on these changes is described in the above referenced bulletins. Contact the
CMLS coordinator if further information is needed.
7.2 Role of CMLS in BARD Authorization
In addition to serving its original purpose as the subscription database for the distribution of direct
circulation magazines and as a demographic database of patrons enrolled in the free national library
program, CMLS will also serve as a verification database for BARD. This new function will
patron application data to determine if an applicant is eligible to use BARD. For this reason, it will
even more important that network libraries maintain timely and accurate patron records in CMLS.
network libraries should contact the CMLS coordinator to begin a reconciliation process with their
files and CMLS if they have not done so recently.
8. DIGITAL SYSTEM EFFECTS ON BPHICS
As cited in NLS Machines and Accessories report 08-01 (March 7, 2008), NLS will use BPHICS to
player inventory. In that report NLS asked network libraries and LCS vendors to update their LCSs
establish fields to track the players and accept serial numbers with a minimum of eight numeric
The BPHICS contractor completed the required changes to the system, although the new fields will
selectable until the DTBM manufacturer has begun allocating new machines. NLS asked that
libraries and LCS vendors make all required changes to their systems as soon as possible, and
to reports, all LCSs have been modified accordingly.
Changes to the format of the monthly machine report (MMR) are also being made by the BPHICS
contractor. Two rows will be added to the MMR and several other BPHICS reports to show the two
DTBM models. CBM models C76 and C78 will no longer be tracked in the MMR. Those lines will
reassigned to DTBM models DS1 and DA1. Activity for C76 and C78 models must still be
will be tracked by BPHICS. The revised MMR will show a combined CBM and DTBM total, but
show the machine types separately.
Contact the NLS ECO if further information is needed.
9. DIGITAL SYSTEM EFFECTS ON PICS
NLS has made enhancements to the Production Information Control System (PICS) required for the
implementation of the digital-based delivery system.
9.1 Quota-Driven Copy Allotment in PICS
Copy allotment functionality in PICS has been changed to accommodate quota-driven allotments for
titles (both new and retrospective) and RCs. The quota-driven aspect of copy allotment for
a new feature and a constraint from the perspective of libraries.
NLS has notified the network of these changes through network bulletins. Libraries are already
new feature for copy allotment of RC titles and retrospective DB titles, and will shortly use it for
titles. A cumulative counter, which shows how many copies a library has ordered, has been added to
copy allotment screen next to the library's quota to aid library staff.
9.2 Deployment of Final PICS System
The final version of PICS, including an online Help screen was released in December 2008.
10. TRAINING NETWORK LIBRARY STAFF FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF
An NLS contractor is developing four training programs for network library staff that will
facilitate the transition to the new digital-based system. NLS is also considering development of two
additional training programs.
10.1 Current Training Programs
The first training program will provide network library staff with guidelines in providing distance
instruction to patrons on the use of the digital talking-book machines. The second component of
will provide DTBM inspection and maintenance procedures. The third component will provide
on downloading digital books to cartridges and labeling them for library use and to assist patrons in
process of BARD downloading. The fourth and last component will encompass the enrollment and
support features that network library staffs will need to know to verify and register patrons for
The front-end development of these training programs, including decisions on the best methods of
delivery and types of training materials, has been completed and the four programs themselves are
being produced. They will be web-based tutorials available to network staff on the NLS web site.
programs are expected to be ready for use sometime in the first quarter of 2009. See Sections 2.4,
and 6.9 of this handbook for additional training information.
10.2 Future Training Programs
NLS is planning to develop two additional training programs. The first will be for creating in-house
library-produced) digital recordings. It will include written guidelines for production and a
addressing DRM, AMR WB+, digital markup, and requirements for long-term digital-data storage.
second program will provide training for searching the Voyager catalog system and will likely
tutorials, FAQs, and webinars and be available on both the Network Library Services and the NLS
11. DIGITAL SYSTEM PRELAUNCH
Before the full-scale launch of the new digital-based system using DB cartridges and DTBMs, NLS
conduct an extensive and comprehensive field test, referred to as the prelaunch, in the spring of
The following paragraphs describe the plans for this test.
11.1 Prelaunch Sites
Eight regional libraries will field test DBs and DTBMs and certain other aspects of the digital-based
system (e.g., making BPHICS and CMLS entries) during the prelaunch. These libraries are the
Institute Library Services of California; the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library
the Iowa Department for the Blind, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; the Braille
Talking Book Library of Massachusetts; the Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically
Missouri; the New York Public Library, Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library; the
State Library and Archives Commission; and the Utah State Library Division Program for the Blind
Disabled. Their geographic locations and various operational sizes contribute diversity to the test.
Jewish Braille Institute will also participate.
11.2 DTBM Production and Allocations for Prelaunch
Fifty-four digital books produced since 2004 will be available on DB cartridges to the eight test
These titles were selected to provide diversity of subject matter, broad appeal, and relatively high
Five thousand DTBMs will be produced and allocated to the sites participating in the prelaunch,
prelaunch library receiving 544 machines. The libraries will distribute the machines to patrons
participating in the prelaunch testing. The prelaunch libraries will also beta test the new network
A minibibliography sampler and cartridge copies of these fifty-four digital books will be available
eight test libraries to use with patrons.
11.3 Bibliographic System Updates for Prelaunch
The bibliographic records for the 54 titles being produced for the prelaunch have all been updated in
Voyager catalog system and are ready for use by network libraries. Both abbreviated and full
records for these titles will be available, along with the records for many other DB titles available on
BARD for download by libraries in the first quarter of FY 2009. See Section 1.9 of this handbook
further information on bibliographic record updates for the digital system.
12. PATRON INFORMATION ABOUT DIGITAL SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION
12.1 Time Required for the Transition
The total implementation of the digital system will require six years. Funding constraints dictate the
length of the implementation period. In the early years DTBMs and DBs will be in short supply but
be distributed to patrons as soon as network libraries receive them. Network libraries are required
to give priority to veterans. NLS encourages libraries to give next priority to patrons one hundred
age or older. Beyond these, libraries should establish and consistently apply their own policies for
12.2 Role of Talking Book Topics
Talking Book Topics will announce the release of new audiobook titles in RC and DB formats.
bimonthly publication will be available on the NLS public web site and will continue to be produced
large-print and recorded formats.
12.3 Patron Instruction on the Use of DBs, DTBMs, and BARD
Instructions in both large print and braille on how to use DBs and DTBMs will be distributed with
player. As previously noted, each DTBM has a built-in audio user guide to help readers learn to use
functions of the machine. Network libraries will also have NLS contractor-prepared, web-based
programs to train their staffs to assist patrons in the use of DBs and DTBMs.
Web-based training will also be available to prepare library staff to assist patrons with matters
downloading materials from BARD.
12.4 Veteran Preference for Program Materials
The enabling legislation for the free national library service requires that program patrons who are
veterans be given priority for services offered by the program. This priority service must include
distributing DTBMs and DBs to eligible veterans who want digital access before any other group of
patrons. It also includes allowing veterans who wish to continue using CBMs and RCs both during
after the transition to receive that service for as long as it continues.
12.5 Patron Purchase of DB Cartridges
Several nonprofit firms designated by NLS are authorized to buy DB cartridges from the
typically in large lot sizes, and resell them to interested network libraries and patrons, typically in
lots. The prices that these authorized resellers must pay the manufacturer for specific lot sizes are
in the contract with NLS, while the prices that network libraries and patrons will pay the resellers
to be determined. NLS will not play any role in the purchase of cartridges from the manufacturer by
authorized third parties.
13. OUTREACH CONCERNING IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL SYSTEM
13.1 NLS Outreach
Information about the implementation of the digital system has been made available on the NLS
web site. In addition, since 2005 NLS has distributed the newsletter Flash to keep network libraries,
patrons, and other stakeholders updated on the progress of the digital transition.
13.2 Network Library Outreach
Network libraries are encouraged to develop and implement outreach activities at the state and local
levels. NLS, through the Publications and Media Section, will develop a number of products such
images of digital players and cartridges, posters, and brochures for network use. However, best
at the end of 2008 indicate that even with a production rate of 20,000 digital players per month, it
at least 21 months after production begins before sufficient players are available to meet the needs of
current individual patrons. Network libraries should plan outreach accordingly and take care not to
generate an unreasonable early demand for digital players and books.
13.3 New Applications for Service
NLS has modified applications for individual patrons. An interim application for individuals (in
and Spanish) is now available on the NLS web site at www.loc.gov/nls/ and also in hardcopy.
A new, revised application for individuals and an accompanying factsheet describing digital
players will be available in early 2009, first in English and shortly thereafter in Spanish. Libraries
continue to use the interim application until DTBMs actually begin to arrive, in the spring of 2009.
that point they should begin to use the new application. Both the English and Spanish versions will
available in hardcopy and on the NLS web site.
Network-produced library applications for individuals should be based on the new NLS application
individuals. Network libraries must submit drafts of their revised applications to the NLS Network
Division for approval prior to using them to enroll patrons.
14. RECORDED CASSETTE BOOKS
NLS will continue to produce audiobooks in recorded cassette (RC) format for two years into the
transition to the digital system. The current plans for production and allocation of RC titles are
in the following paragraphs.
14.1 RC Production
NLS has developed plans for production of new book titles in RC format for FY 2008 through
2010. The plans for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009 were published in Network Bulletin 08-01
2008). Actual production levels of RCs achieved in future years will depend on the funding
RC production and RC duplication. The phase-out of new title production in RC format is being
coordinated with the increasing production of DBs (considering both titles and copies) and DTBMs.
The current plans for production of new titles in RC format by fiscal year are as follows:
Number Average Number of
FY of Titles Copies per Title
2008 2,000 694
2009 2,000 443
2010 2,000 199
14.2 End of RC Production
NLS anticipates that production of RC books will end after FY 2010, largely because of
obsolescence. By that time, DBs and DTBMs should have largely, but not entirely, replaced CBMs
RCs as the primary delivery mechanism for audiobooks in the program.
14.3 RC Copy Allotment
In FY 2008 NLS began to use a quota-driven copy allotment process for network libraries ordering
RC titles, which will continue through FY 2009 and FY 2010. These quota-driven allotments allow
average number of RC copies produced to decrease during the transition. Copies must therefore be
allocated on the basis of readership. The required functionality for these revised RC copy allotment
procedures has already been incorporated into the interim version of the PICS system and will be
in the final version.
15. CASSETTE BOOK MACHINES
During the transition to the digital system, cassette book machines (CBMs) will continue to play a
role in the program. Even after DBs have largely replaced RCs for new book titles, CBMs will still
needed to read both magazines in RC format and RC book titles that have not been converted to
15.1 CBM Inventory Management by MLAs
Production of new CBMs ended in early 2007. Given this, available CBMs in network library
and NLS inventory at the Multistate Center West (MSCW) will decline during the early years of the
transition as a result of normal attrition. Furthermore, DTBMs will not completely replace CBMs
several years after the transition. Thus it will be increasingly important for MLAs to manage their
inventories of CBMs effectively during the early years of the transition.
15.2 Repair Parts for CBMs
With the approaching obsolescence of cassette technology, NLS has identified and purchased several
CBM parts in Alifetime buy@ quantities. Certain other CBM parts are still available in the market
procurement and inventory management of these by NLS will be little changed. NLS is watching
however, for any signs of obsolescence and unavailability. MLAs and repairers should order repair
as necessary to fix CBMs, but distribute them as efficiently as possible.
CBM batteries should be readily available during the transition, and NLS is not overly concerned
their future availability. MLAs should continue to order CBM batteries from the MSCs using the
15.3 CBM Repairs
NLS will continue repair of C1 machines. However, repair of E1 machines was discontinued at the
2008. NLS will continue to authorize any CBM repairs performed by SWR and Cintrex, and the
procedures now employed for handling these repairs (BPHICS entries, etc.) will remain unchanged.
Repair of CBMs by volunteers will continue. NLS will to provide CBM repair parts and guidance
performing CBM repairs to volunteer repairers as supplies permit.
15.4 CBM Disposal
Disposal procedures for CBMs will remain unchanged after the transition begins. MLA staff or
repairers must request approval for disposing of a unit from the NLS ECO, who then must authorize
disposal. Upon receipt of authorization from the ECO, the MLA will pack and ship the unit to
Leavenworth, Kansas, for disposal. If these procedures change in the future, NLS will inform
16. MULTISTATE CENTERS
The implementation of the digital-based system will have only a minor impact on the relationship
that network libraries have with multistate centers (MSCs). The following paragraphs describe the
plans for MSC operations in the future system.
16.1 Continuing MSC Functions
MSCs will continue to provide virtually all of their existing services to the network.
15.2 New MSC Functions for Digital System
New services will be performed by MSCs to support the implementation of the digital system, two of
which are relevant to the network. Network libraries will order DTBM batteries from the MSCs, in
same way they now order CBM batteries. The MSC QA program for library-recorded materials will
expand to include review of materials recorded in digital format.
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
AMR WB+ Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband Plus
BARD Braille and Audio Reading Download
BPHICS Blind and Physically Handicapped Inventory Control System
CBM Cassette book machine
CMLS Comprehensive Mailing List System
DB Digital talking book
DRM Digital rights management
DTAC Digital Transition Advisory Committee
DTBM Digital talking-book machine
ECO Equipment control officer
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
LC Library of Congress
LCS Library circulation system
LP Large print
MARC Machine-Readable Catalog Record
MLA Machine lending agency
MMR Monthly machine report
MSC Multistate center
MSCW Multistate Center West
NISO National Information Standards Organization
NLS National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
PICS Production Information Control System
QA Quality assurance
RC Recorded cassette
TBT Talking Book Topics
USB Universal Serial Bus
XESS Web Excess and Redistribution Program